Onsite wastewater treatment definitely has its benefits. Not only is a home septic system a cost-effective option, but it’s also environmentally friendly when properly installed and maintained, and it can help with better water efficiency. For these reasons, many people will opt to install a septic system instead of relying on their municipal sewer system. And, in more rural areas, a septic system is sometimes the only option.
But what exactly do you need to know before choosing the right septic system for your home? Before we get to the basics, you should know there is more than one kind of septic system. You can read about the different types of septic systems here, but this blog will focus mainly on conventional (or basic) septic systems.
FIRST THINGS FIRST, HOW BIG SHOULD YOUR SEPTIC TANK BE?
When deciding how big your tank should be, consider the square footage of your home as well as the size of your family and how much water you typically use. Conventional residential septic tanks typically range in size from 750 to 1,250 gallons, with a 1,000 gallon tank being the standard for a three-bedroom home up to 2,500 square feet.
WHAT MATERIAL SHOULD YOUR TANK BE MADE OF?
Residential septic tanks are typically constructed of concrete, polyethylene (plastic) or fiberglass. Concrete tanks, while common, weigh considerably more and will require the use of more heavy-duty machinery to install. Polyethylene and fiberglass tanks are lighter and typically easier to install. Talking to a septic system expert about local codes and regulations can also help you select the right material.
WHERE SHOULD YOU PUT YOUR SEPTIC TANK?
This is an important question, and one we cover in detail in this blog. In brief, choosing the right location for your residential septic tank will depend on things like installation regulations for your area, the layout of your property, and existing utility lines and soil quality.
HOW BIG SHOULD THE DRAINFIELD BE?
Like your septic tank, the size of the drainfield will depend on the square footage of your home, the size of your family and how much water you typically use. However, soil quality is equally important. If the condition of the soil is good and it percolates well, a ballpark estimate for your drainfield size is about 4,500 square feet (100 feet long x 45 feet wide).
The area where your drainfield will be located should also be clear of any large trees, structures or driveways. You will need to check local zoning rules to determine setback requirements and other possible property regulations.
DO I NEED TO PERFORM A SOIL TEST?
Yes—primarily because the quality of the soil in your yard affects how well it will absorb the septic effluent (the liquid waste from the tank that is disposed of in the drainfield). Because the drainfield acts like a giant soil filter, it is important that your soil is highly absorbent.
The best type of soil in which to install your septic system and drainfield is sandy, undisturbed soil. Try to avoid areas of dense clay or bedrock, which can prevent water flow. Also steer clear of coarse, gravelly soils that may drain too quickly. A percolation test (or perc test for short) will help you determine the state of your soil.
YOU’RE BETTER OFF LEAVING IT TO THE EXPERTS
Paradise Septic has been providing residential septic service to homes and businesses in the Phoenix Valley and surrounding areas for more than 50 years—from drilling and installation to pumping and regular maintenance.
Family owned and operated, we take pride in delivering superior service and providing efficient, cost-effective solutions to meet your residential or commercial septic system needs.
Call Paradise Septic today at (480) 351-1725 or send us a message through our convenient online form.